25-year old British blues-rock guitarist and singer-songwriter,Laurence Jones, will release his new studio album The Truth on Friday 9th March 2018. To dovetail the release of the album, Laurence will start his nationwide tour at London’s Borderline on Tuesday 23rd January. All tickets are £15 and available from www.thegigcartel.com and the 24 Hour Box Office08444 790 898.
Laurence has also launched the pre-order store Check It Out that will feature a selection of bundles including the new album, vinyl, T-shirts, Ltd edition laminates and an exclusive pre-order poster.
Laurence is often labelled as “the future of the blues.” He’s won several major awards and accolades and has sold over 50,000 albums across four albums. He’s supported the likes of Status Quo, Gary Clark Jr, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, James Bay, Van Morrison, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa Jools Holland, Eric Burdon, and many more.
Hailed as “one to watch” by all corners of the music industry, including press, concert and festival booking agents, blues fans and various musicians. Over the past five years, Laurence has really come into his own, and with his new album The Truth, he has now developed his own creative skin by writing and performing songs that are distinctive to his unique sound and identity.
Says Laurence, “The direction of this album is one I have always wanted to take and that’s crossover blues, just like my heroes John Mayer, Eric Clapton and even Jimi Hendrix. They managed to really bring the sound of the blues to the masses. This is definitely my favourite album that I have made to date. I can’t wait for people to hear The Truth.”
Laurence recorded the new album at the old Sony Studios in Miami. It proved to be an amazing opportunity when Top Stop Music, a Grammy award-winning record label, signed Laurence and proposed that he record the album in Florida. “The studio has so much history,” says Laurence. “It has always been a dream of mine to record in America and I wanted this album to have that USA magic that a lot of my favourite records have.”
The Bad Flowers Single delivers Thunder Child Check It Out
The Bad Flowers Single delivers Thunder Child Check It Out. Why? I smell rock that sizzles. The sound builds and builds with a rumble and roll of riff mayhem. The Black Country once again is serving up rock that packs a punch, full of melodic undertones pulling through on riffs that clap like a mighty thunderstorm. The single opens with a burst of cymbals introducing you to drummer Karl Selickis’; the beat is picked up with deep and full bass grooves provided by Dale Tonks. Then the outpouring of vocalist Tom Leighton. This is a rock power trio that keeps the music pumped up and full of intense tonal shapes and textured rhythms. The Bad Flowers have a distinctive, compelling sound the three musicians interact creating a maelstrom of rock a bouquet of sound that no simple ribbon can hold in place as the notes are bent and turned into Thunder Child.
The ‘B’ side completes the tasty single with Lions Blood, two tracks that definitely leave you wanting more of the trio’s Black Country rock, full of fuzz, heavy grooves and a rawness that keeps an edge to the music which is sharp and imaginative with an energy. This means that the band are in a hurry to be noticed. They will achieve that with this couplet of rock tones as Thunder Child flows into Lions Blood.The single, Thunder Child, unsurprisingly is getting radio play and the trio is being noticed as they embark on an 8-day tour; including five dates supporting The Picturebooks in October.
The Bad Flowers, deliver a sweet rock riffy sound do not miss out on the chance to be in on the action. Having formed in 2014 they have been making formidable rock foot in the past whilst full of 21st-century rock sensibilities.
OCT/NOV 2017 UK TOUR *Supporting The Picturebooks
**Supporting Skinny Molly
Bristol, Mothers Ruin – Sunday 8th October 2017 Tickets: £6.25 (includes booking fee) – Book Online: IBA Events Grimsby, The Yardbirds– Friday 13th October 2017
*Supporting The Picturebooks Tickets:£8 advance / £10 door – Book Online: See Tickets
Swansea, The Pit – Saturday 14th October 2017 Tickets: £6.25 (includes booking fee) – Book Online: IBA Events
Sheffield, Corporation – Sunday 15th October 2017
*Supporting The Picturebooks Tickets: £9.56 – Book Online: See Tickets
Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates
Steelhouse family came together on a Welsh Mountain united by rain, sun and MUD! The glue binding us was live music and the super glue the brilliance of Bernie Marsden not once, not twice but all three days on the stage entertaining. We had dragon magic gracing the festival that you climb up slowly to the top driving up a rough track to the top of a Welsh Mountain above Aberbeeg. The weather may at times be trying, we all know the welcome and cwtch from the Steelhouse volunteers will be full of warmth. So many memories for the music memory box, friends, brilliant bands Planet Rock DJsand the array of stalls to kept us fed and watered, the endless cuppa’s from Motley Brew hot and refreshing the gallons of Trooper consumed and the selection of cocktails. The festival is for everyone young and old, family friendly with a play area, camping, glamping and merchandise. We may only be in each other’s company for a few days but the friendships forged last forever.
Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken could not make Friday night, rain, parking and other issues conspired against her. Nothing though was going to deter us from getting to the festival on Saturday that started warm and sunny with the weather for now set fair. We missed Free Friday, but those who got here in time were entertained withRevival, the awesome Hand of Dimes joined by Bernie Marsden already a festival favourite and Trucker Diablo.
The two bands that open the show were local bands, Saturday, Florence Black & Texas Flood on the final day all setting the bar high rocking the show for the first notes always a challenging slot and they got our attention. Then the new line-up from Tequila Mockingbyrd who flew the flag for women and rock Steelhouse know how to weave the line-up reflecting styles of rock and peoples different tastes.
So many thoughts whirl around as I edit the photographs, the excitement that the festival has left spilling over to Monday, continue to be motivated as the work continues listening to the music that fuelled the weekend, Steelhouse 2017 delivered the best line-up ever and it was a triumph. Music for all tastes across rock. There are always bands and for everyone the list will vary for us at Bluesdoodles it was Rival Sons, Last In Line, Monster Truck, Stone Broken, Broken Witt Rebels, Jared James Nichols, Wayward Sons, Saxon and the hero of the hour Bernie Marsden across the festival Friday, Saturday and the unplanned return on Sunday. The list is a mix of styles, ages and experience the common link was quality, performances.
Stone Broken bought a vitality, energy and love of performance to the stage, heating up the atmosphere. The set was played out with every note played and song sung confirming the meteoric rise from a self-funded album to the band they are today. The journey has just begun they will soon be headliners wherever they play, why the crowds will demand it the Broken Army will not be silenced. With a follow-up album to debut All In Time tantilisingly close live performance will keep us entertained until the release date early 2018. Every fan is waiting in anticipation which will just build and build, with every performance and radio play. Stone Broken play the music rock fans want to hear. Every time they play live they grow in stature tighter, more confident. Everyone’s day is brightened by Robyn’s infectious smile and drumming. Rich leading from the front energised with vocals that demand to be listened to. Chris & Kieran, guitar and bass creating the sting in the tail with the strings ensuring there is nothing broken about Stone Broken. They nailed it at Steelhouse 2017.
Monster Truck, were monstrously good, the guitar sound is loud and we are pulled into the hot atmosphere they create. It was so hot it was as if the rain vapourised before it hit the ground! Awesome sums up the performance lifting the crowd’s mood into the stratosphere. The set included all the numbers you want to hear live from Sittin’ Heavy as we heard staggering vocals, hard rhythm and licks that curl around the stage and cascade across the field in melodic delights. There will be other bands but for now it doesn’t get better than this performance or will I eat my words?
Having never heard Last in Line live, this was a band I was looking forward to having listened to Heavy Crown, loud and often since reviewing early in 2016. The band named after Dio’s second album carried the torch shining high and burning bright with a set that was full of Dio classics. The two orginal members of Dio’s band Vinny Appice on Drums and guitarist Vivian Campbell are joined by vocalist Andrew Freeman, Phil Soussan on Bass an keys from Erik Norlander. They delivered adrenalin fuelled rock that pounded the mud and the sound that was Dio. Andrew’s vocals were reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio. The rain did not wash away the sound and atmosphere of a festival that was now rocking as the skies darkened on the Saturday.
Sunday dawned bright and clear with blues skies and warm sunshine we all knew the music was going to be hot. The Sunday came alive as Broken Witt Rebels may have opened with Low from Georgia Pines but the music took us to new highs. Danny Core’s vocals are outstanding they pierce with a depth of emotion. The feel of the guitar sound tinged with blue, heated by southern rock from James Tranters lead guitar. The sound builds with tambourine and rhythm added by Danny and a rhythm section that burns the groove as Luke Davis and James Dudley join forces. This is a young band who are growing in stature as with every performance the layers of polish are burnished, the beat tightens and the sound gets bigger, bolder as the Broken Witt Rebels blow the mist away through Georgia Pines, what a number. They were quickly followed by the guitar-led blues-rocking power trio of Jared James Nichols. The talent of the guitarist who is making a name for himself as he flashes his prowess with the six-strings, this set was the most guitar-dominated set of the weekend. Another young performer who never fails to deliver, always improving developing the Nichols tone and sound. Building on his album and the last EP Highway Man.
A new band, Wayward Sons that has every one talking. Why? It is a Toby Jepson band this, the bands third gig and first festival appearance, did not disappoint. The opening was intriguing as we entered the Twilight Zone before the opening line of Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas and then the band stepped on stage. With a debut album out in August, Ghosts Of Yet To Come the sound we heard was grittier this is a rocky sound that sets quivers of an earthquake erupting through the audience on top of a mountain. As to be expected Toby’s vocal shone through the rain drops With the Little Angels – Young Gods – song dedicated to Alan Nimmo, who to many people’s disappointment was not swirling his kilt with King King on a mountain. The whole Steelhouse family wish Alan a speedy recovery.
Rival Sons, well worth the wait in the mud and rain they delivered with music that sears the heart and soul. Jay Buchanan’s voice is always stunning as he strode down the stage in rolled down wellies he captivated – what a band. The only slide guitar of the weekend cascading notes swirled across the mountain courtesy of the slide of Scott Holiday. The rhythm and structure added a depth of tone thanks to David Beste and Michael Miley. There is nothing hollow in the bones of the rock they deliver every track has something to say with sweet licks, righteous riffs and lyrics that draw you deep into the heart of the music Rival Sons are simply electric.
Closing the festival with lights, pyrotechnics and a metal eagle Saxon left their mark on the mountain once again. A band that the fans wanted to see many so excited seeing a band that was one of the first bands they had seen back at Steelhouse once again. The rain did not deter Biff as he strode down the runway kneeling on a towel and rising again hands aloft uniting with the fans as he sang in the rain. The festival went wild as Biff sung to them Battering Ram soared out across the mountain quickly joined by many classics Princess Of The Night & 747 Strangers In The Night. By now there were no strangers in the crowd, we were united by music, mud and Steelhouse friendship.
Cometh the hour cometh the man. Steelhouse 2017 it had to be the one and only Bernie Marsden. Scheduled to play with Hand of Dimes of Friday and the acoustic set on Saturday that was a delight. With King King having to pull out there was a yawning gap. Hand of Dimes stepped in with Bernie on electric guitar that was exciting but this was the Steelhouse Band with two special Planet Rock guests. Hand of Dimes always popular and they know how to please as they add keys and harmonica to Nev’s special brand of rock. Nev was back on stage with Bernie Marsden joining after a couple of Hand of Dimes numbers to massive cheers of Bernie, Bernie!! Hand of Dimes has a new album out Raise so we heard Guilty and Pin-Stripped Arrogance, what a band. Then we had the change as Ian Danter took control of the drums and Darren Redick on Bass for a couple of numbers this is what festival magic is all about memories never to be repeated. The ‘cover’ of Whitesnake classic Here I Go Again was superb vocals from Neville McDonald took the roof of if there was one! Bottom of Form
The heroic Steelhouse Band created a great atmosphere what fun a pleasure for everyone listening to Hand of Dimes and friends over the Bernie weekend.
Then if I could only pick a band it would be a toss-up between Rival Sons and Broken Witt Rebels both were superb the vocals stunning, out I have made the rule only one band so it will be Rival sons, why? Soul made me cry as I was absorbed by the music an even stopped photographing during Electric Man.
Steelhouse 2017 raised the bar in terms of music and fun we are counting down the days until Steelhouse 2018. Thanks once again to the band of volunteers and Mikey and Max who make sure we all have a wonderful Mountain top festival.
Steelhouse 2018 the clock is ticking ! show your interest and keep to-date on Facebook Event
Rockstock 2016 officially starts on Friday 2nd December, but if you have a Planet Rock Golden Ticket then you have an extra injection of music with four bands getting Trecco Bay rocking on Thursday. The honour of starting the proceedings fell to local band Mojo Sinners, with a set that with its heavy drum beat allows the guitar of David Williams to swirl and rise. With a new E.P. out in January, we were treated to a preview with the track Jester. They delivered a short set opening a weekend of rock that will roll.The next two act’s music remained as a weekend highlight as the last notes faded away on Sunday. French progressive rock with twists of Eastern promise provided by Lazuli creating an atmospheric opening with an eclectic mix of instruments including a Chapman Stick and French Horn. Quite different for a Rockstock weekend and definitely music that excites the inner progressive. The keyboard orchestration combined with Geddy Lee-like vocals made for a great 3-D sound. If you like Prog you will love Lazuli with a rush of emotions as the all too short set was very impressive. Definitely want to see the band with a longer set on a larger stage. Next, in contrast, was a young blues-rock band making quite a name for themselves in the West Midlands and beyond, the Broken Witt Rebels. Hitting the ground running with their single Low which sounded great live they immediately engaged to crowd getting them to join in the rollercoaster ride that was to follow including title track Georgia Pine. What a voice!! Really goose-pimply raising the hairs on the back of your neck. There is a strong hint of Rival Sons about this band which is no mean thing. They had numerous technical problems on stage – but you wouldn’t have noticed such was their professionalism these are definitely going places. Can’t wait to see them supporting King King early 2017. Closing the night were Tax The Heat delivering a class act with a typically intense rocky set punctuated with great riffs and licks. The crowd were now in the mood for rock that would keep them warm as they went out into the cold night air. They certainly raised the heat in bringing a very impressive first evening of music at Planet Rockstock to a close and certainly whetted the appetite for what was to follow in the coming three days.
Last year Wyatt rode from London To Rockstock overnight raising £40,000 for CALM. If that journey sounded tough Wyatt set himself and epic ride this year. Wyatt cycled nearly 1,100 miles across the UK in just under seven days! On Friday 25th November 2016, Wyatt set off on an incredible 1,100-mile journey across the UK, with the aim of raising £40,000 for CALM. He achieved the goal and in fact his ride motivated people and he raised over £70,000 for Campaign Against living Miserably CALM.
Now for the main event, this is the proverbial long-lasting delicious aural stick of rock. On the outside vibrant red stickiness that is Planet Rock that come together to Trecco Bay, South Wales in December to play rock live to the Planet Rock family. The Red layer are the DJ’s Wyatt, Paul Anthony, Darren Reddick and of course the Hairy Bikers. That is not all there is a huge dedicated hard-working team that deliver lights, sound, backstage support and at the heart of the team Jon Norman, Mr Rockstock himself. The sugary white layer are the family that congregate to spend the first weekend in December to sing Rockaoke, compete in the Quiz, partake or listen to the DIY Band and above all to hear live rock music and meet up with old friends, make new ones and have fun. The lettering that runs through are the thirty-three bands that will be delivering Southern Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock bands that are new and old favourites like every seaside event there is something for everyone.
Opening tonight were Stone Broken and the first of the women to play the festival this year across both stages. Drummer Robyn Haycock flashed her winning smile and then drummed with her heart on her sleeve. The vocals have a rocking snarl as Rich Moss fronts a band with attitude, style and energy playing large stages higher up the running order will be the norm for a band that definitely isn’t broken. Friday night the heat of rock kept the icy chill from the outside world at bay. Then the opening night like the closing night provided a strong billing. On with the music, and A Thousand Horses, the first Southern Rock fuelled band of the festival. The music was faultless what a stunning festival set. Michael Hobby’s vocals were like honey drip, drip, dripping onto a vat of moonshine. The rock hardened as Phil Campbell’s Bastard Sons were back to entertain with Lemmy’s spirit, not for the last time to join us over the weekend. The Motörhead numbers certainly hit the spot with the crowd. Their rendition of Ace Of Spades delighted a crowd whose excitement was getting hotter with every rock chord played. The rock unfurled more delicious music with the first and definitely not the last all woman band of the weekend as Girlschool entertained with a mix of numbers off their new album and classics from the past like Race With The Devil.The anticipation and excitement was now fever pitch as The Dead Daisies returned to Porthcawl once again tonight to headline with their hot-tempered brand of rock n’ roll. With numbers from Revolucion and their current album Make Some Noise, noise was certainly made by the festival crowd. What an opening night the depth and breadth of rock on display for every taste. The highlight tonight was A Thousand Horses, first time I have heard them live and they really impressed.
Early doors on Saturday for Stage 2 as Haxan brought the darker side of rock before Bad Touchprovided the shades of their rock with rock n’ roll and southern rock. The afternoon was full of bands people will want to see on the main stage and culminated with Darren’s DIY Band. Early evening and The Colour of Noise a multi-talented rock band picked up the stick of rock and opened an evening where the rock was loud and varied. They were followed by Amorettes the girls were certainly rocking across the festival in 2016 with a hefty set of heavy rock. Opening with We Will Bring The House Down; they certainly did. As they say Keep it hot Keep it heavy. For me, the only stand out act tonight on the weakest evening of the weekend was Whiskey Myers. They delivered Southern Rock guitar warmed by the southern sun and roughened with the stinging moonshine. There is an infectious beat as country collides with hard rock via the Blues. Southern dialect fills out and warms the lyrical vocals. The delta meets the open road of adventure with all the possibilities of a rock beat drums set the route and the guitars explore the by-ways of expectations. They took us to a party in the empty barn before harvest. The urgency was slowed with gentle riffs and the dance foot tapping beat. The fiddle was hot as a square dance was imagined. Now the audience were heating up. The title track of their new album Mud was given an airing as the fender was really strung on stage! Taking us on southern tour Louisiana/Texas border riffs with glass slide slithering across the six strings as fishing in the bayou is explored. The percussion was infectious and the Cowbell rock tango was beguiling. Wow! The acts did not excite me but like any family what delights one member leaves another unmoved and Planet Rockknows how to weave together a rocking melody of styles.
All too soon it is the last day and like all good treats, the best have been saved for us so much rock music left to hear from 11am until midnight. Every band played with verve, delivering thrills and spine-tingling moments. It is those moments that make live music so special and festivals have an intensity as the music flows and sweetens the very air we breathe. Every player deserves a mention but space is limited. These are my highlights of the day and yes, yours will be different no one is wrong or right. What we enjoy is subjective it is the difference in our tastes that makes the Planet Rock family full of interesting conversations and the opportunity to find new bands and new sounds.
With two all-women bands Joan Ov Arc and Tequilla Mockinbyrd on stage two’s bill the rock was flamboyant and exciting Main Stage next year could be dominated by women who are stirring the rocky pool with music that rings with a clarity that excites. The closing act of the afternoon SIMO is a force field of guitar and vocals that thrills. This is a trio full of power and they unsurprisingly blew the roof off. JD Simo went for it with an energy that burns up the stage and audience as he delivered an opening couple tracks off the current album, Let Love Show The Way and then it merged into a jam with a whirling shapes of tones and textures. This is rock burning with Nashville fire simply mesmerising.
With a few minutes to draw breath before the baton is taken over by the Main Stage and the last mouthful of rock to enjoy and savour. Jackaman opened the evening; her vocals have a searing purity with a gritty edge. A lighter rock with the only saxophone of the festival as funky tones wove into the musical textures of Rockstock 2016. They were followed by the Finnish Von Hertzen Brothers who entertained with prog rock with attitude. The interaction between lead/rhythm guitars upped the tempo. The set was eclectic full of interest, creating a great atmosphere that was continually building. Tonight without the keys, the band still managed to create the Von Hertzen sound. Next up were Inglorious. Stepping out on stage the journey this band has been on since playing their first live set at Rockstock 2015 has been amazing. They played the rock from the self-titled album Inglorious as we wait for the follow-up album early next year. What a difference a year makes Nathan was full of his usual confidence and vocals that can fill the largest auditorium. Nathan James has real charisma a front man that loves being centre of attraction. What has changed for the better is the interaction between the band, less standing on the monitors more playing of the guitars. The sound created was rocky and we all loved hearing Breakaway, High Flying Gypsy with its great bass/drum duo to close the number out. The Atmosphere was electric, excited we wanted more music. Following that the penultimate set of the weekend Ricky Warwick & The Fighting Hearts, fast British heavy rock. The lyrics were powerful as the rock cascaded from the stage. All too soon the finale, and what a final act for us tonight as we had the last bite out of the stick of Planet Rock. Black Stone Cherry took to the stage auditorium packed, hot and excited. Unfortunately, vocals were muffled for another headlining act was poor. But like British Lion the night before; Black Stone Cherry had their own sound engineers and had removed the infill speakers at the front of the stage to create more space. That said, the show they put on was electric and punctuated with favourites such as and Me and Mary Jane, Shakin’ My Cage from Kentucky album raising the excitement of the packed venue to fever pitch… BSC win more fans of their distinctive rock every time they play and tonight was no different as the mighty headliners bout the show to an end. Here’s to Rockstock 2017!
Broken Witt Rebels experienced success in 2016 with the release of their 5-track EP featuring the singles “Low” and “Guns” which received airplay on Planet Rock and XS Manchester, while “Low” was Track of theWeek on Radio X.
On October 27th, they won “Best Rock Act” at the first annual Unsigned Music Awardsheld at The Troxy in London, and closed the Awards by performing “Guns”. BWR were also nominated for “Best Live Act”.
The title of BWR EP Georgia Pine comes from an old stoner reference “As high as a Georgia Pine“. For BWR, the metaphor is more about their ascension to the top. It’s clear they haven’t come to make up the numbers.
With the title track “Georgia Pine“ as their most recent single, the Rebels show their softer side, with Danny Core’s trademark howl melts hearts with the impassioned lyrics “You’re always there for me.”
BWR have amassed over 1 million video plays and “Guns” became the 9th most shared and play-listed track on Spotify in the UK during July. With a major label deal around the corner, the future’s looking bright.
Broken Witt Rebels are a band not to missed and with Bad Touch as will this is a double live delight
Bad Touch has dovetailed the album release, and UK co-headline tour on November 19th with the Australian rock band Massive.
The new album, which was recorded at Mwnci Studios in Wales, features the singles“99%” and “Made ToBreak”, both *remixed for radio by the legendary Rolling Stones engineer and co-producer, Chris Kimsey. Both singles will be accompanied by official music videos.
“99% is a great song to ride around in cars and drink beer and smoke pot and listen to rock and roll on the radio,” says ChrisKimsey. “Not that I drink beer or smoke pot , but I remember the simplicity of music and life so it’s good to hear it is alive and kicking with Bad Touch. I heard something that evoked a good time melodic love song. It just needed some re-arranging and mixing to get to the heart of the song.”
The new album, Truth Be Told sees Bad Touch celebrating classic rock with Southern boogie influences, supported with heavy guitar riffs and an iron-clad, tight rhythm section, in the great tradition of Black Crowes, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin.
The Gig Cartel & Planet Rock Radio presents “ROADSTARS”
BROKEN WITT REBELS & BAD TOUCH MARCH / APRIL 2017 UK TOUR
ALL TICKETS: £14.00 24 HOUR BOX OFFICE – 0844 478 0898 BOOK ONLINE ALL VENUES – Gig Cartel
Ride to Rockstock 2016 raising money for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Wyatt is going to be cycling nearly 1,100 miles across the UK in just under seven days! Yes, we’re sure he’s not joking.
On Friday 25th November 2016, Wyatt will be setting off on an incredible near 1,100 mile journey across the UK ending at Planet Rockstock in Porthcawl, South Wales with the aim of raising £40,000 for CALM.
Leaving from our Central London studio at around 3.30pm after his show, Wyatt will cycle to the likes of Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and finally arriving in Porthcawl in time for Day 1 of Rockstock just under a week later!
You can even track Wyatt’s progress over at Planet Rock and even download the App to your phone and track every mile Wyatt is riding to Porthcawl. Wyatt Rides The Long Way to Rockstock 2016 every pound counts.
Road to Rockstock “Tour Dates”
As Wyatt passes through each of the cities – he’ll be visiting famous rock landmarks and venues all submitted by you, the listeners. If you’d like to say “Hi” along the way or give Wyatt a cheer as he passes through, you can see all parts of his route below. Plus if you fancy joining him and the team for a pint, the times and locations of the hotels are included.
You can check each part of his journey by clicking on the links below HERE
Roadstars Hit Cardiff
SIMO Keylock and Federal Charm
The Globe, Cardiff, cold damp November night is just about to get hot with blues-rock guitar shredding that will ignite the audience. Why? On the third night of The Planet Rock ‘Roadstars’ sixteen-night tour has arrived in the Capital city. The Roadstars are young guns that are causing heads to turn wherever they play with youthful verve and enthusiasm. Who are the Roadstars? They are two British bands Aaron Keylockand Federal Charm and from Nashville, U.S.A. SIMO. Tonight we are definitely going to hear a lot of guitars that have strings that will be fast, furious and loud with a long streamer connecting the six-strings to the Blues. This is a trio of bands who are taking turns on who will headline, and tonight it will be SIMO.
The evening kicked off by being exported back to the roots of the blues with field hollers loud and atmospheric from the PA system. Tonight, Aaron Keylock was opening the show. This young band with the much talked about guitarist who has played many gigs and festivals that for a teenager is amazing the rhetoric about his skills is stratospheric so my expectations were very high. As for a variety of reasons, Bluesdoodles has not caught up with Aaron playing live. Completing the power trio drummer Sonny Greaves and bassist Jordan Maycock. I was expecting fireworks as the blues influences combine with the rock as sabbath collides with Winter. One thing for sure the guitar was loud drowning out the vocals so I never heard a word Aaron sang even on his closing number the title track, Against The Grain, from his anticipated debut album due out January 2017 on Mascot.
The set was loud, raw Aaron, for me did not live up to the press I have read and comments from others who have seen him live. With power you need control and the blues is about feel and tonight these were not evident. The set was more rock than blues, enthusiasm over style. Aaron changed guitar but textures and tone stayed the same loud and raw. He is like moonshine straight from the still, we need to have some of the oaky smokiness, smoothness of flavour from maturing that a good sipping whisky has. Aaron, has the potential, he can play the guitar and interaction between the three friends on stage is honest. Opening with a shorter set perhaps didn’t allow for a set that shows the varied side of this young man with so much potential. The slide guide was good and the lead breaks solid but there was no flashing and sparks to really light up the evening.
Short break and Federal Charm hit the stage with a customary energy and smiles as they said we are glad to be back in Cardiff. With full on Mancunian charm they hit the ground running. They too chose to close with Silhouette, the single from the much-praised album Crossing The Divide. Federal Charm produced as strong set the brand of blues rock is delivered better everytime we see them play live. The two guitars, of Paul Bowe and Nick Bowden sometimes in competition but always in harmony. Completing this tech quartet are bassist LD Morawski and drummer Danny Rigg who do so much more than provide a solid platform they bring tonal shape and control for the frontman allowing Nicks vocals to roll and bounce off the music. Federal Charm’s set was full of attitude and at times an arrogant swagger giving the music a hardened edge softened by the blues. The set warmed the venue lifting the audience as they got them closer to the stage singing along and dancing. Nick engaged with the audience who were delighted to have the boys back in town even if for a brief set tonight. The music was played with authority as the rock grooves were as solid as granite with a sparkling strata of blues as the harp was given an airing and the licks and riffs had the shape and feel that is the perfect recipe for a blues-rock band.
Now for the main act SIMO a trio fusing music from every genre into a fluid psychedelic whirlpool that lit up the stage. Keeping up with virtuoso guitarist JD Simo are bassist Elad Shapiro and Adam Abrashoff on drums, they provide rhythms that explode allowing JD to fly with sparkling effervescent guitar fireworks.
The music flowed, no set list this was a hothouse jam full of control, innovation and excitement as slide, met finger picking and the playing of the fret board with both hands was mesmerising. Defining SIMO is like trying to capture mercury in you fingers, you just think one band and the music changes and it is totally different as jazz collides with Hendrix and the Allmans are threaded into the mix. The sound is a musical tapestry of every hue and colour, The vocals powered through it was a perfect aural picture. You see and hear musician and guitar, musicians who excel JD and his band are merged into one being and the connection is complete, seamless as he astounds with rock n roll that has you listening with delight. Into this maelstrom, I heard hints of Tom Principato, Stevie Ray Vaughan stretching the blues colouring the tones with funk and world music. The set had everything, fast and furious, complex, simple and slower numbers this was a jam that was very, very tasty indeed.
The set was everything they promised on the album Let Love Show The Way; and the audience agreed with gasps of wow, utterly brilliant never heard seen anything like this they are stunning. closing the set that was like a river at times still, then a raging torrent then a gentler flow with the only cover of the set their unique interpretation of With A Little Help From My Friends. SIMO certainly made new friends tonight who will be spreading the message to their friends as they tell them what a night they have missed.
With three nights gone, there is still plenty of opportunities to hear these Roadstars live and make your own mind up.
JD Simo Talking about Touring Albums Vinyl and more
Bluesdoodles was delighted to have a chat with JD Simo once again, In February shortly after we reviewed the stunning album Let Love Show The Way read what we talked about then HERE. Today we talk about vinyl the up and coming Roadstars tour throughout the UK,
BD: Hi JD. Good to have the opportunity to chat with you as you are about to hit Europe, we chatted about the album, influences and dream band.
JD Simo: Thank you, remember talking to you earlier in the year not sure where I was now having couple days back home before heading on over to Europe.
BD: Now your surname and band name are creating lots of discussions about how it should be pronounced so let’s start off the pronunciation of the name SIMO
JD Simo: Well, it has to be good being talked about. The correct on is sI MoH where the I is dominant we answer to anything, eventually as we become better known and more people see us live everyone will know but until that day all is good (laughing).
BD: Your current album Let Love Show The Way, Please the latest single is getting plenty of airplay. Tell our readers about deciding the tracks, writing the songs and opening with an Elmore James classic Stranger’s Blues.
JD Simo: While we were sequencing the record that track we all liked how it slowly builds up, it is not an abrupt beginning. Lots of bands start with an initial brash aggressive number but this for us was a nice way to start the record. More to do with the sound rather than the fact it was a cover or that particular song we didn’t want something abrupt as it were. As a group we put some thought into the order and which tracks to include we do this process as a collective talking about what assembly of tracks works, at the end we believed this sequence worked. Reality, nothing too exciting just a process we went through we do all the creative side and Mascot as the record label have very little involvement in what we produce. They leave us to do on creative end yes there is some correspondence but what you hear is the product of the band, it is SIMO.
BD: Like many you have released your latest album on vinyl, is this a niche or rising in appeal and will be expected by people as they continue to buy vinyl or is it a trend that will fade away?
JD Simo: I know that here in America vinyl is not a niche thing it is a pretty big thing with people especially my age group. Not sure what is happening in Europe & U.K. , sure we will find out when we are back touring over there very soon. Vinyl has become a big part of my generation who are true music fans not those who follow mainstream. It is how they buy their music whether new or old recordings. I grew up with vinyl it then went away in the nineties and then came back again. Let Love Show The Way, vinyl sales have been huge I have lost count the number of re-pressing of the album since its release. I do know we have sold more vinyl than other acts on Mascot record label and there have been occasions when we have sold out and the label has had to have them rushed to us on the road, Vinyl is the number one merch in terms of volume at our shows. The reality is it depends on your preference. I collect vinyl and have a portable record player set up where ever I go definitely in the dressing room. Every town I visit I find local record stores it is integral part of my life releases in that format very important to me. Luckily the tide has turned I think vinyl is here to stay a while.
BD: Are there plans to record a follow-up album and how do you find time with your busy touring schedule to even think about let alone write new songs?
JD Simo: We have started work on next record actually started several months ago. We are doing the album in little phases. This is a different approach from previously and will be a different type of album putting it together over long period of time. We are about a quarter way through the process. When get back home before Christmas we will finish all the pre-production stuff. We have a space in the calendar January through February to finish the album. It is not difficult to find time to write as it happens, I write when the thought, idea hits me. That can be on a plane, in the van, dressing room or walking down the street. This year SIMO have played well over 200 shows so finding the time for three of us to actually work out the material is problematic. As a group we need time to work out how each song is to be played, arranged, this takes time it can even take up a whole day. We have tried using the time in sound checks to try our new material and ideas, when we do this we are all open with each other. Contributing what we like don’t like, free to have heated discussions the trouble is at sound checks there are people around strangers, it just didn’t work as the presence of people not involved in the process made us self-conscious, inhibiting the process. So finding the time for the three of us to set time aside has been difficult but we have found spaces sometimes a couple of days or longer break say ten days. Sometimes though you have a real break not have the pressure to work so we take couple days off then it is back the three of us working on the new material. We discuss together how to flesh out songs so that they are ready to be sent as a demo for our producers to review. At the end of the day I just love making music.
BD: SIMO have been around for five years? Let’s hear about the band how Adam Abrashoff and Elad Shapiro work around your attention grabbing guitar playing and vocals?
JD Simo: Laughing, It may be one to ask Adam & Elad. For me it works because it is very much that I have one vote of three, it makes perfect sense to use. The outcome of how it works if your readers come and see us play live it makes more sense then… (Bluesdoodles – you are in luck they are touring UK & Europe October – December – check out dates here) Plus we all have role on and off stage, my responsibility may be a little bit more prominent interviews like this one, singing but the three of us are all very equal in all the decision making like what playing that night… Very democratic, that can be difficult I can get frustrated as much as they can perhaps it is easier if the leader dictates and rest band follows but that is not my way. We all have strong personalities, we fight and argue, we are like brothers we make up quickly and do not take it personally. We are like a dysfunctional family – all three guns a blazing all the time and most of the time there is a healthy balance. In end better way to be invested in common goal inevitably better that both the guys have a democratic input.
BD: As you mentioned when we talked earlier in the year, Simo is back touring Europe including extensive UK Tour with extended Planet Rock Tour – Roadstars tour with Federal Charm and Aaron Keylock. By the end of the tour and festival set at the sold-out Planet Rockstock SIMO will no longer be a stranger to blues lovers across the UK. With the promises of three exciting acts what plans have you got to get attention with your style of the blues.
JD Simo: Not met guys in Federal Charm yet, though we did meet Aaron very briefly at Ramblin’ Man Fair. Looking forward to our tour of U.K. So far we have only done random one-off gigs in UK; a couple shows in the North and press show and support in London then in the Summer some festivals. Now we have the opportunity to play at 16 venues and a spot at Planet Rockstock. We will actually get time to see your country and visit all corners of the U.K. The plan is to share the ninety-minute slot so some nights that will be Federal Charm and other night Aaron Keylock, on these occasions we will play a shorter set. Every night we always play different songs so for people who come to multiple nights will see different shows from us. This is going to be a real opportunity to get to know the U.K. and meet a lot of fans, many will be seeing us for the first time.
BD: Normally I ask for your band but did that last time so this time I am interested in albums that have influenced/ delighted you as a musician. And the favourite at the moment?
Time was running short JD Simo is in demand we all want to talk about a band that brings excitement to the blues so his answer was an unequivocal – Alabama Shakes Sound and Colour their latest album is my favourite hands down I just can’t get enough of the album.
So lets give them a huge British welcome and go see the band on tour with Federal Charm & Aaron Keylock.
Tickets will then go on sale to the general public on Friday 17th June via www.thegigcartel.com or from the 24 hour box office: 0844 478 0898.
Federal Charm stream new single “Silhouette” . The song features on their Across The Divide album, which launched last year via Wire Sound
Bluesdoodles chatted with Paul Bowe on 7th October the day Silhouette was released this is what he had to say —-BD: Do you have a favourite/ special track on the album? And why?
PB: My favourite has always and remains Silhouette. I love playing it live it gets to me more than anything else we play. The vocal production shapes the meaning of the words. The chorus works so well, every time I hear it or play Silhouette it gives me goose bumps. When I play the song live I hear what we were trying to achieve in the studio and look forward to playing it every night.
BD: This brings us neatly onto the single, Silhouette being released on 7th October what are your hopes for the single? PB: I am obviously delighted that Silhouette is being released as a single showcasing Across The Divide and our music. What an opportunity with air play on Planet Rock and a video that is being made this Saturday exciting times.
Feeling Exhilarated at last a King King Live Album
Feeling Exhilarated at last a King King Live Album. We have waited, was it worth the wait… Yes, It was and we can shout across the land at last we can have on tap that Live magic that is King King.
Live, has captured everything a King King gig has to offer. We have the Alan Nimmo wit and the crowd’s warm heartfelt appreciation with ovations and cheers and then the silence of a mass of people listening intently. Recorded on the 14th May 2016 at Glasgow O2 ABC, in front of a home crowd with that added energy of a homecoming for Alan.
King King always exhilarates, they are a unit of musicians who build on each other’s emotional energy making as Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts!”
Opening the twelve track album with Lose Control, which is a certainty with King King’s music; this is a jump up and down number that will raise the temperature at any venue. Glasgow is on fine form as Alan thanks the audience before launching into a Fabulous Thunderbirds number that is always sublime when it receives the King King treatment Wait On Time is no different tonight. The guitar from Alan weeps and pulls at the rock n roll vibe that Wayne picks up with a clash of the cymbal as the guitar beguiles you and pulls you in to a Nimmo musical hug.
The opening keys from Bob need no introduction with Long History of
Love. Alan, sings “…all I have to do is close my eyes….” and instantly I am transported to the front of the crowded venue and see the kilt, Bob’s smile behind the keys, Lindsey’s cheeky grin and Wayne behind the drums with stick raised with a purpose you can actually smell and feel the atmosphere that is a King King live show.
Every track is a winner there are no favourites they all send that ecstatic musical shiver down the spine but as ever You Stopped The Rain dedicated to his brother Stevie and Frankie Millers, Jealousy raises hairs on my arms and I hold by breath so that every nuance of the numbers are not missed. Heavenly!
The tempo ebbs and flows and as ever King King send you a little bit Crazy, as they pull out all the stops to entertain with top-notch music. Closing with Let Love In, once again we have entered their world they thank us for coming we thank them once again for keeping music fun and live. The set list takes on a stroll from their current award-winning studio album Reaching For The Light, dipping into the back catalogue of both Standing In the Shadows and Take My Hand.
If you have been to a King King gig this is the whole event boxed and tied in tartan ribbon for you to enjoy again and again as we wait for the next tour to begin. For a glorious eighty-four minutes reality is suspended and you are transported into the land of rock-blues wow! Land with King King Live!
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
A Deluxe Edition 3-disc set, that will soon be available for pre-order, includes two CDs that captures the live energy of King King’s sold-out hometown concert at O2 ABC in Glasgow on 14th May 2016, plus a bonus DVD film of the band performing to a sold-out crowd at the Holmfirth Picturedrome on 13th April 2016.
Says King King’s lead singer and guitarist, Alan Nimmo, “We are excited about ‘King King Live’ because it’s the first time we’ve ever released a live album. It’s a great testament to how our audiences drive us on to perform to the best of our abilities. The audience reaction to the live performances is amazing. This release couldn’t have been possible without them.”
Live Album Track List
Lose Control You Stopped The Rain Wait On Time Jealousy Waking Up Crazy Rush Hour All Your Life A Long History Of Love Stranger To Love More Than I Can Take Let Love In
Live DVD Track List
Lose Control Waking Up Rush Hour A Long History Of Love More Than I Can Take You Stopped The Rain Jealousy Crazy All Your Life Stranger to Love Old Love Let Love In